The need is huge. The opportunities are vast.
Research is clearly showing that high performing organizations are highly customer-centered. But customer satisfaction levels have been steadily dropping from nine to sixteen percent across many industries.
Technology such as automated phone systems, call centers, and e-commerce are alienating many customers. That’s often because they are designed to increase organizational efficiencies, not serve customers the way they want to be served. Walls between these technologies and the rest of the organization compound the problem. And when frontline producers and servers also feel alienated and poorly supported by their organization the customer is served a lethal service/quality cocktail.
Most attempts to improve customer service are too narrow and superficial. They fail to focus the organization’s culture and core processes on serving customers. That’s why fifty to seventy percent of these programs fail.
Jim Wrote the Books on Customer Service and Quality Improvement
Jim Clemmer and his associates have spent almost thirty years helping thousands of managers in hundreds of organizations build high service/quality teams and cultures. As cofounder of The Achieve Group, he worked with California-based Zenger Miller (now both part of AchieveGlobal) and Tom Peters to help executive teams implement a cultural change process called Toward Excellence. A key element of this process was entitled Existing for the Customer.
Jim’s first book, The VIP Strategy: Leadership Skills for Exceptional Performance, was built around Achieve’s “Vision Integrated Performance” model for improving service, quality, productivity, and innovation. His second book, Firing on All Cylinders: The Service/Quality System for High-Powered Corporate Performance, built upon Achieve and Zenger Miller’s highly successful experiences in helping organizations develop the skills, processes, and culture to reach higher levels of service and quality.
The "Leading a Customer-Centered Organization" workshop draws from the deep expertise of The CLEMMER Group associates, the Achieve/Zenger Miller experiences, and Jim’s best-selling books, Firing on All Cylinders: The Service/Quality System for High-Powered Corporate Performance, Pathways to Performance: A Guide to Transforming Yourself, Your Team, and Your Organization, and The Leader’s Digest: Timeless Principles for Team and Organization Success.
Each workshop is tailored to the audience and organizational circumstances. Following is an overview of the main sections that Jim can draw from in customizing a session for each Client.
Putting Customers at the Center
Why Most Organizations Aren’t Customer-Centered
The Performance Balance
For a brief overview of the material covered in this section click here and here.
Pathways to Superior Customer Service/Quality
While some customer improvement programs may change a few short-term performance indicators, many initiatives fail to change the very character and fabric of the team or organization. These efforts often make surface-level changes. But few are integrated with a systematic and strategic approach to customer service/quality.
The Pathways Framework has evolved over many years of best practices research and very successful use with hundreds of management teams. The process used here is a highly iterative one. It is tailored to the main areas that participants want to focus upon or feel they need to address in more depth.
Here’s the typical process used in a one or two-day workshop:
For an overview of the “compass model” used in this section and more depth on each Pathway click here.
Focus and Context (Vision, Values, and Purpose)
Strategy and Direction
Measures and Rewards
Processes and Systems
Learning and Development
Timeless Leadership Principles for Team and Organization Success
Unimproving managers rarely develop improving organizations. A customer-centered culture and leadership are closely related. Part of changing “them” involves changing me. High performing, customer-centered cultures are only possible through high-performance leadership. High performing leaders are well-rounded and constantly expanding their personal “leadership wheel” across the “Timeless Leadership Principles.”
This section builds on Jim’s best-selling book, The Leader’s Digest: Timeless Principles for Team and Organization Success and may also draw from the accompanying Practical Application Planner.
Depending upon the length and focus of the workshop, the process typically used starts with an overview of each of the following Leadership Principles. Participants then assess their team/organization. From here, small breakout discussion groups or the whole group (depending upon workshop size and objectives) review application exercises and brainstorm potential application ideas. The workshop usually finishes with setting practical action plans.
Focus and Context: Points of Origin
Responsibility for Choices: From Victim to Victor
Authenticity: Let’s Get Real
Passion and Commitment: All Fired Up
Spirit and Meaning: Matters of the Heart
Growing and Developing: All That We Can Be
Mobilizing and Energizing: Inspiring Peak Performance
Customizing any "Leading a Customer-Centered Organization" workshop starts with defining the key objectives and outcomes of the session.
For Management and/or Frontline Staff
This is generally an interactive and inspirational session that reinforces or provides participants with an “edutaining” overview of the keys to service/quality and leadership. A few assessment and application exercises may be selected on the basis of preworkshop discussions and customization.
Participants complete a greater number of the assessment and application exercises from The Leader’s Digest: Practical Application Planner and/or extensive "Leading a Customer-Centered Organization" workbook. Participants may assess personal, team, or organizational effectiveness across Transformation Pathways and/or the Timeless Leadership Principles. This helps determine which Pathways or Principles they want to complete as a whole group or in small discussion groups (depending upon the key issues and number of people in the session). The amount of time and depth in each agenda area is determined by preworkshop discussions and customization.
For Management Staff and/or Blending with Staff (see next option)
Participants typically complete all assessments and application exercises in The Leader’s Digest: Practical Application Planner and may start selected ones in Growing the Distance: Personal Implementation Guide. They get deep into the key leadership issues that need to be addressed and develop detailed action plans. Key priorities, next steps, and follow-through processes are established.
Progressive Blending for Staff and/or Various Management Levels
This starts as a half or one-day session for staff and management together with organization or team assessments, issues to be addressed, and implementation brainstorming. Everyone gets the same message, develops common language, and gets involved in the improvement process (which dramatically increases commitment to change). Jim then facilitates a senior management team priority and action planning session the afternoon of the second day to make decisions and begin implementation. Sometimes the progression is first a half-day with everyone, continuing with a day including all management, and a final half-day with just the senior management team.
Confidential Preworkshop Web-Based Assessments (Optional)
These assessments can be built around the questions in The Leader’s Digest: Practical Application Planner and/or Transformation Pathways. All or selected assessments (depends upon the half, one or two-day version) are completed confidentially and anonymously on The CLEMMER Group web site by each participant before the session begins. Scores are tabulated and a summary report is brought to the workshop for discussion, prioritization, and action.
This option provides:
To view the Transformation Pathways assessment click here.
What You and Your Team Can Expect From This Workshop